Towards the end of labour your skin and muscle layers in or around your vagina stretch and thin to allow your baby make his or her entrance into the world. Tears are most common in women having their first vaginal delivery and range from small abrasions to deep lacerations.
These range from a 1st degree tear to a 4th degree tear:
Types Of Tears:
1st degree tear – this can be a small nick or abrasion. They usually heal themselves and shouldn’t require a stitch.
2nd degree tear – includes skin and muscle tissue damage. You may require stitches and it usually takes in or around 2 months to recover. An episiotomy is where the perineum is intentionally cut in order to facilitate delivery. An episiotomy involves the same muscle and tissue as a 2nd degree tear.
3rd degree tear – third degree tears is a tear or laceration through the perineum muscles and the muscles which surround the anus. Third degree tears can be further sub-divided into 3a, 3b and 3c tears, depending upon how far the injury extends into the anal sphincter:
3a: partial tear of the external sphincter involving less than 50% thickness
3b: tear of the external sphincter involving more than 50% thickness
3c: external and internal sphincter torn
4th degree tear – a fourth degree tear extends completely through to the anus, tearing the internal and external sphincter and, on occasion, the internal wall of the rectum or bowel.
It is not possible to predict or to prevent a 3rd or 4th degree tears but there are factors that make these tears more likely for example, you have an assisted birth, you have a large baby or the second stage of labour is long. The NICE Guidelines 2011 advise that women should be accommodated with a c section if there is an indication that baby will be large.
Sometimes these tears can be missed and never repaired or, badly repaired. This leads to serious complications for the mother. The most common complaints are incontinence and/or faecal urgency. Many women suffer in silence, it can take a long time before a woman is ready to discuss these problems with her medical advisors. It is a very troubling and painful time. Some women, especially first time mothers believe that these injuries are part and parcel of giving birth. It is crucial that these serious tears are treated by a surgeon using the correct facilities.
Emma Meagher is one of Ireland’s leading Medical and Clinical Negligence Solicitors who deal with many high profile cases, specifically birth injury due to Clinical Negligence* during pregnancy or Clinical Negligence* during labour and also gynaecology injuries.
Many of the procedures that lead to claims under this heading are described by practitioners as “routine”. Unfortunately, the consequences of an accident in medical care are extremely serious.
Perusing a Medical Negligence* case can be a very personal and lonely battle for the woman involved and her family, bringing extra stress and strain to an already difficult family life.
Emma is known to be “on call” outside office hours to speak to her clients who are under stress and will make sure that that the best experts from Ireland, the UK and United States are available to bring your case to court.
What Our Clients Say
Thank you all so much for helping me through a difficult few years. You were always there at the end of the phone to explain the legal proceedings in a way that I could understand. I am grateful that my case settled and feel that I can now get on with my life. Thank you to Fiona for her patience!
To Emma and James, just a small note to thank you both for all your help and advice over the last 2 years. Apart from being extremely professional, more importantly you kept a personal empathic touch that make all the difference. I always felt assured to know that I had someone who cared working on my behalf. Adrina, thank you for keeping in touch so promptly along the way – it was great to know you were always on the end of the phone with my queries I had. Wishing you all continued success.
James McSweeney has a special interest in Medical and Clinical Negligence* claims. Prior to setting up his own practice in 2007, James managed one of Ireland’s leading specialist Medical Negligence* and Personal Injury* firms. He has experience in all Courts from the District Court to the Supreme Court, including the Supreme Court case of Roche –v- Roche. This is, arguably, the most important legal case in the history of the Irish State. In his Judgement, the Chief Justice noted that the issues raised were… “profound and complex on novel aspects of birth, the right to life and reproductive rights”. This is the case that finally decided the status of the unborn in Irish Law.
James has been at the cutting edge of developing innovative and quicker ways of winning cases for victims of medical accidents. The systems he has developed enable his Clients to prosecute their cases with confidence.
Emma Meagher, from Boherlahan, Co Tipperary, has been appointed as Partner heading up the Women’s Medical Negligence Unit at James McSweeney Solicitors. Emma joined James McSweeney Solicitors in 2008. She quickly established herself as an invaluable member of the Team and is now recognised as one of Ireland’s leading Medical Negligence Solicitors.
Throughout her early years in the legal business, Emma developed and refined her keen interest in helping women who have suffered as a result of negligence during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. As a result, in 2015, Emma established a unique, mother-focused, legal advice unit and has built a support team with a wealth of interest and experience specialising in obstetrics and the Law.
Emma brings a professional and empathic approach to her work. She has regularly featured in various national publications and is consulted widely by media contributors on Medical Negligence Law.
A mother of two young boys, away from work Emma can be found most Saturday mornings watching football training at Wicklow Rovers and likes to spend afternoons with her family exploring the Wicklow countryside and beaches. She balances her busy work life with a love of cooking, literature, art and horse racing, especially flat racing.
Happy to give something back to the Community she finds the time to volunteer with the Free Legal Aid Board and also offers free legal advice to the London Irish Centre, Camden.
Emma Meagher is a member of the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association, Irish Women’s Lawyers Association and the Medico-Legal Society of Ireland.
Roberta Cloherty graduated from NUI Galway in 2007 and joined James McSweeney Solicitors in 2013 after training in a well renowned and respected firm in Galway. Roberta specialises in all areas of Residential Property Law and Conveyancing to include selling, buying and re-mortgaging residential and commercial property, as well as Landlord and Tenant issues. She has considerable experience in dealing with a wide range of complex and complicated Commercial and Residential Conveyancing transactions.
Roberta also specialises Wills and administration of Estates.
Adrina is a Legal Executive and joined our firm in 2008. She is a full member of the Irish Institute of Legal Executives (M.I.I.L.Ex). Adrina works closely with Emma Meagher Solicitor and deals exclusively in the areas of Medical Negligence* and Personal Injury* litigation.
Adrina deals specifically with the ruling process of minor Plaintiff claims and also liaises closely with clients and experts, preparing cases for trial and also settlement discussion.